tv The Situation Room With Wolf Blitzer CNN March 20, 2012 4:00pm-6:00pm EDT
track. lisa desjardin, thank you very much. the one and only wolf blitzer with lots of news coming up going into the primaries tonight. hey, wolf. >> deb, thanks very much. happening now, we're following breaking news. a major earthquake rocks mexico from the resorts to the capital, and it sens residents rushing into the streets. we're tracking all of the latest developments. >> voters are casting their ballots in illinois right now. it's a critical context for the main republican rivals, but rick santorum didn't help his cause with an election-eve gaffe that's being called his mitt romney moment. plus, 75 years after she disappeared investigators may have a new clue to help them learn what exactly wanted to the pioneering female aviator a mellia earhart? i'm wolf blirts. i'm wolf blirts. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com >> this is cnn breaking news.
lettay get right to breaking news from mexico. a powerful earthquake from acapulco to mexico city. let's go to our meteorologist chad myers. what are you seeing? what's going on? >> it has been reduced to a 7.4 earthquake, wolf, but that is still a very major shake. about 200 miles to mexico city, but there are cities or towns at least, much closer to the epicenter. let me take you to a few because there are 4,000 to up to 17,000 people in some of these cities and we know that they were right on top of the epicenter. there you see the towns with the roof, the tile roofs here. a beautiful part of mexico here. other towns not that far right over the other side of the hill. this is only about eight miles from the epicenter at a 7.4 shake and now about 12 miles deep. those towns were hit very hard, and a little bit farther up. there we come right here flying into this city. it has 17,000 to 19,000 residents. they felt the shaking very hard.
there are 17 earthquakes this size every year, between 7.0 and 7.9. so they happen a lot, more than a month, but the story here is how many people lived in this area. this is from usgs. they tell us now that the fatalities may run from about 100 to 1,000 depending on how this shook and where the people were. a 42% chance that between 10 and 100 people have died in this fatality in this earthquake and a 32% chance that up to a thousand died in this. the other startling number is there is only a 2% chance that no one died. so this was a big shake, although it warrant in a town or under mexico. villagers did get injured and they're still trying to dig some people out. this is the latest video we have. this is actually part of a bridge that fell off the bridge as this person was driving under it. that's the guardrail that fell
off the roadway above and crushed that car. we assume there are people in that car because otherwise they wouldn't be working to get that guardrail off, wolf. >> originally they said it was a 7.9 and now a 7.6 and now a 7.4. it doesn't sound to the lay person like that's a huge difference. every tenth of a point is a huge difference. >> it is. i just wanted to say how big a 7.4 really is. i know we kept saying it, and i kept tweeting it, reducing, reducing and that was great and that reduced the number of fatalities, but a 7.4 is a major quake for any country, and even though this was in a sparsely populated area, if this had been 300 miles deep, wolf, there would be an awful lot of padding between where the shaking occurred and where the people were living. so 300 miles of padding would make that epicenter 300 miles away. this was 12 miles deep so that epicenter only 12 miles away from on top where all of that
shaking occurred were the towns on google earth. >> we'll stay in close touch with you. brian todd is also following the breaking news for us. what are you picking up? >> i spoke to officials at the u.s. geological survey. we have some of the pictures we can roll to show people some of the scenes in mexico city, acapulco and elsewhere, chad was referring to this that was cracked in half. not sure if that is a bridge that came down. there was one caption on a picture that came down that says it is a pedestrian walkway. we'll get more information on that and as you can see, was there a rescue effort going on or there was a short time ago. other video, just people evacuating and lots of pictures of people on the streets in mexico city and elsewhere. john bellini, a fizzisist, i spoke to him a while ago and about how they revised this down to 7.4 and there's potential for real damage near the epicenter and get red for a lot of aftershocks in the 5.0 range in
the next couple of days. there you see a crack in the overpass that is under construction and not sure if that was facilitated, but there is cracking going on there and some plaster coming off of the side of that. john bellini says one thing to keep in mind here. mexico city is on an ancient lake bed. that amplifies the shaking in mexico city. it's like a big bowl of jello. whatever is felt in other places, it might have amplified mexico city because it sits on an ancient lake bed. so you will see aftershocks there and in other places in the 5.0 range for the next several days. i also spoke to an official at the mexican embassy here. he's been in close contact with colleagues and friends of his and family in mexico city. here, actually is some other good video that we picked up of an office shaking there. you can see this, it's fairly significant. no one is panicking there, but you can see the shaking going as the camera moves around. an official i talked to in the
mexican embassy, important to note here, there is an early warning system in mexico city and in a lot of other major cities in mexico stretching down the pacific coast toward the guatemala border. there are sirens that go off. he tells me that at least in mexico city this was operational. the sirens did go off because he talked to his family members who said they heard the sirens going off just seconds before this happened. so there's an earthquake warning system. he says in mexico city and also in oaxaca state, chiapas, the states in the mexican border where they have a lot of seismic activity and there is an early warning system, and at least in mexico city, his family members told him they heard it. people got out in the streets and you can see people are disstraut and they're obviously shaken by what happened, but they did get out in the streets and stayed there and are heeding warnings. just some of the things that we're picking up from mexican officials and from officials at the u.s. geological survey along with the pictures that are
starting to morph. >> we're getting new i-reports and more pictures. brian, i know you'll be monitoring that. cnn's juan carlos lopez of cnn espanol is monitoring mexican television for us right now. juan carlos, the president of mexico spoke out just a little while ago. first of all, what did he tell the people of mexico? >> he called this earthquake, wolf, a big scare. he says so far the government doesn't have any reports of deaths in mexico. he also said there were many scenes of panic throughout the affected states of guerrero, oaxaca and the mexican tal, but power lines and communications are functioning as usual. a big scare for mexicans, but they're well prepared for this type of event and so far according to the mexican president no fatalities. >> do they have breaking news, non-stop coverage on mexican television, juan carlos, right now? >> it's a big scare in mexico city. over 20 million people. they were very prepared because in 1985 they had a huge earthquake and over 10,000 people died and this is something they follow to the
minute and very seriously and this is another event, after the first of the year and it's getting a lot of attention. >> we're getting reports that multiple houses collapsed near guerrero state, near the epicenter, right? >> that is 80 miles from acapulco, from the resort and obviously, these are the parts that will be most affected. the reports from acapulco and mexico city say it's a big scare, maybe cracks in buildings so far and no major events to report, but the reports are going come in from guerrero from these parts where people really felt this quake. >> we'll stay on top of it with you. we'll stay on top of what's going on and you'll monitor mexican television for us. chad, i want to bring you back into this conversation. what else are you picking up right now? >> i want to get to this earthquake warning system because i don't think people understand what it is. it's a fantastic system they have. they have sensors all over mexico and when one sensor senses shake at the speed of
light because that's the speed that electricity goes through wires, warning siren are off just set off all over the place as you get around this earthquake because the speed of light is faster than the speed of shaking so it may only be a few six, but the few seconds that people had to get out of the way, into a doorwell or outside the building may have been enough to save lives for sure. just because the shake occurs, the sirens go off immediately, flying through wires and the shaking gets there a few seconds later, but sometimes that second is all you need. >> how deep underground was this earthquake, the epicenter, chad? >> it was 12 miles, wolf, and that means there's not a lot of padding between where the shake occurred where the fault ripped and where the shake occurred at the surface, the epicenter above the shake itself. that 12 miles is about what we had in haiti. we had a much bigger quake in haiti, but because of that lack of padding and because of that shallow quake that was only 12
miles, a lot of violent shaking occurred in the areas near the quake itself where only rumbling occurred at the 200 to 300 mile mark what you see here in mexico city. >> in haiti it was a 7.0 earthquake, right? >> i believe it was bigger than that, wolf. i can't remember, but i remember how short it was and how close it was to the surface and at some point seeing only six miles to the surface and a major metropolitan area that was never made to take that kind of shaking as building cracked and crumbled, but you could be at 7.0. you know, here's another deal. we have these conflicting numbers that came out all day long and mexico saying 6.6, and think about the speedometer in your car. the speedometer in your car saying it's 62 miles an hour and it's also saying it's going 100 kilometers an hour. it's just a different kale. because the scales are different in japan, mexico, the u.s. and europe, it's like miles to kilometers. you can't compare numbers to
numbers across country lines. >> all right, chad. i know you're going to be working this story. all of us will be working this story and we'll stay on top of it and update our viewers as more information comes in, right now as of the latest information a 7.4 earthquake struck somewhere between acapulco and mexico city. we'll get you more information as it becomes available. we're also following other important news here in "the situation room," including election day in illinois. voters are casting their ballots and it's a critical contest for the main republican rivals, but rick santorum didn't help his cause with an election-eve gaffe being called his mitt romney moment. also, a republican budget in sharp contrast to president obama's. we're getting details of one medicare provision that has democrats pouncing. plus, a picture sparks a new effort to solve the 75-year-old mystery of amelia earhart, why hillary clinton, the secretary of state, is now getting behind
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. >> a 7.4 earthquake hit mexico in between acapulco and mexico city. cnn producer nick parker is on the phone for us now. he was in mexico city, not that far from the epicenter, about how far, nick, are you from the epicenter in mexico city. >> it's around 200 kilometers approximately from the epicen r epicenter, about a four, four and a half-hour drive, and you know, it's something that was felt by most of the residents in mexico city from a relative distance from the epicenter of the quake. >> were you in a high-rise building? if so, how high were you? what did it feel like? and it was sort of on the hill.
it was tense. the tremor itself lasted between, i'd say 10 or 15 seconds or so and it obviously shook, and another -- [ indiscernible ] >> and how are people reacting in mexico city based on your eyewitness account? >> i just came in now. it was right in the center of the city, and it doesn't seem to be, you know, as much panic here in mexico city. quite a few of the buildings are being evacuated, as well, and the people are lined up along the streets, but there is
acceptance and familiarity with the situation. elsewhere in the country president felipe calderon has described seeing some panic in oaxaca and guerrero which was also affected in the epicenter, but here in mexico city there hasn't been much public distress. traffic is still relatively light and minor damage. there has been minor damage to buildings and a bridge collapse, but beyond that there is no talks of death at this stage in mexico city or injuries and at the epicenter itself, it was the nearest population center some 16 kilometers or so from the epicenter with the population of 55,000. at this stage we're going to travel down there.
>> nick, we'll stay in close touch with you. nick parker is our cnn producer in mexico city and he'll be driving 250 miles to the epicenter and we'll stay in close touch with you and we'll stay on top of this story and i want to check in with jack cafferty. he's got the cafferty file. >> another tuesday and another republican presidential primary and if the candidates have their way there could be more of these to come before it's all over. some gop heavy weights don't see it that way. they're worried that this long, drawn-out blood canucksel bloodletting could be the real deal. karl rove, the architect of george w. bush's 2000 and 2004 run for the white house, the scales have moved from being a positive to being a negative. rove thinks one with of the worst moments of the republicans have occurred just in recent weeks. senator john mccain knows a thing about how ugly it can get
on the campaign trail, calls this race the nastiest he has ever seen, unquote. he's supporting romney this time around, but that didn't stop him from telling nbc every day that goes by with these candidates attacking each other is, quote, a day that president obama wins, unquote. it doesn't matter, does it? at this point there's no end in sight. romney won big in puerto rico over the weekend and who could forget last week's embarrassing losses in mississippi and alabama. the pundits say illinois is a must-win state for him. they say that about all of them, don't they? they said the same thing about michigan and he won those two states, but just barely. santorum, meanwhile, is banking on another big surprise, and if the polls in illinois are right it may not happen this time. and then there are newt gingrich and ron paul. neither one apparently able to read the writing on the wall which gets bigger and bigger and then throw in the towel. it may be march, but to borrow a
line from the song it seems like we've only just begun. here's the question, is a long gop primary good for the party? go to cnn.com/cafferty file, post a comment on my blog or go to the situation room's facebook page. >> good question, jack. thank you. >> and an off-the-cuff-remark, will it be political suicide for rick santorum? the controversy over this remark coming up in our strategy session. >> i don't care what the unemployment rate's going to be. it doesn't matter to me. [ todd ] hello? hello todd. just calling to let you know
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>> if rick santorum ever needed to hold the line it would be today in the critical illinois primary, but santorum may have handed mitt romneya i generous gift going into today's voting. let's go live to our national political correspondent jim acosta. he's on the scene for us. what happened? >> well, wolf, let me tell you first that rick santorum will be watching returns from illinois here in gettysburg, pennsylvania, the civil war battlefield is just down the road from where we're standing and he's doing it as a tribute in the founding fathers' home state of illinois, but it could be remembered as that crucial battleground that rick santorum gave away to mitt romney. >> thank you. thank you very much! thank you! >> reporter: it's never a good thing on primary day when a candidate is trying to cash up
while cleaning up, but that's what rick santorum was doing on conservative talk radio. >> it's about what kuzes the unemployment rate to go up or down is what i'm focused on. the unemployment rate is a symptom. it's not the cause. >> reporter: what's been dubbed santorum's mitt romney moment started in molene, illinois. >> i don't care what the unemployment rate is going to be. it doesn't matter to me. a choice of words that wasn't playing well in peoria, illinois. >> occasionally you say some things that you wish you had a do over. >> before santorum had a chance to pull back, romney was on it. >> i do care. it does matter to me. >> it's something more foundational that's going here. >> that was good enough for the republican party's chairman, and he sided with santorum on cnn. >> i think that rick santorum's right. this election is about big things. >> reporter: but voters in illinois might feel differently.
>> the next president of the united states governor mitt romney. >> reporter: romney knows all too well, how gas lives forever. >> i like to be able to fire people that provide services to me. ♪ ♪ >> can i have your attention please? ♪ ♪ >> can i have your attention please? >> the real mitt romney please stand up. >> consider this soon to be viral musical mashup of romney's slip ups. >> you're fired. >> i'm rick santorum. >> you're fired. ♪ ♪ >> reporter: romney has something better. his campaign and super pac are saturating illinois airwaves with a combined $4 million of mostly negative adds and compare that to the half million spent by santorum and his super pac, a 7-1 romney advantage. rick santorum is called the ultimate washington insider. >> we still believe there is a path to 1144 prior to the national convention. >> reporter: that explains why santorum strategists were on a
conference call, making the case that the gop contender can win the 1144 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. team santorum disregards it and points to its own total that shows the race closer. either way, the santorum campaign suggested it's making plans for delegates for a brokered convention. >> we're talking to them about what the strategies at the national convention will be. >> reporter: and the race goes on tomorrow. santorum will go after conservatives in louisiana. mitt romney will chase moderates in maryland. if the 1806s had a war between the states, 2012 has a war with delegates and it all resumes, i should say, after rick santorum gives the gettysburg address, his own version here tonight. >> despite his big lead, illinois is another must-win state for mitt romney. our chief political correspondent, candy crowley is with romney in illinois. candy, romney is ahead in the
polls heading into tonight, but how big of a factor is turnout likely to be? >> reporter: well, listen, i think we had to look back to mississippi the last time a primary night in the south where mississippi suddenly looked like it might dwindle for mitt romney and then what do we see? we see that rick santorum brought out his folks in the rural areas of e vafrjel cals, but turnout was not good in places like jackson county which would have been more favorable, the kind of more urban areas, if you will, and they didn't turn out for mitt romney. obviously, illinois should be very friendly territory for mitt romney, particularly up here in the chicago area where he's holding his election night gathering tonight. they clearly expect to win. whether it will be in the double digits we've seen in the polls really depends on whether he can turn out votes in the chicago area and by that i mean the
suburbs and even a little farther than that because up here about three-quarters of the republican votes are cast, so it looks like romney territory, but if he doesn't get enough to vote, then it doesn't matter. >> no matter who wins tonight, what can we expect in louisiana this coming weekend and in april in maryland? these are coming up. >> reporter: if we use the template that we have seen sort of form in these past many elections, you would expect that louisiana would be friendly turf for both newt gingrich and rick san tour up and you would expect maryland which tends to have liberal republicans or more moderate republicans to turn out for mitt romney, so they're both, as jim pointed out, santorum had gone directly to louisiana and mitt romney is going to maryland so that tells you where they think their votes out. >> candy crowley, we'll check with you throughout the night as well. >> the candidates are struggling to keep wind in their sails.
let's bring in gloria borger. the momentum is something that we have not seen a lot of so far, but what's going on right now? >> reporter: you know, the only consistency we've seen, wolf is that there's inconsistency. someone wins a race and they're unable to build that wave of momentum to take them on to a bunch of future races. i mean, if you look back to mitt romney he won florida, then he was able to win nevada but then, wolf, he went on to lose three states to rick santorum. you saw rick santorum win in the south and he was unable to capitalize on those wins in mississippi and alabama and he lost all 20 delegates in puerto rico so what mitt romney is looking for is a victory this evening in illinois that he can capitalize and take with him all of the way to get those 1144, but as candy pointed out, the next state, louisiana, does not
look like friendly territory for mitt romney. so even if he wins tonight, can he capitalize on it? >> as jim pointed out, the pro-romney force of the super pac, his own campaign, they expect about seven or eight times as much money on commercials in illinois as opposed to the, and the super pac campaign including the commercial. listen to this pro-romney commercial. >> who can turn around the economy and defeat barack obama? not rick santorum. santorum's real weakness is the economy. he's never run a business or his state. his plan, economic literacy, inexcusable. the worst idea of any gop candidate, rick santorum, another economic lightweight. >> let's just give this illinois primary some perspective. how critical is the result tonight? >> well, it's very critical and
ads like this in which mitt romney is outspending rick santorum 7 to 1 are very important because it is a very large state that mitt romney needs to win. people expect him to win, and when you run this kind of advertising all over the state it has a great deal of impact because the state is so large it can't be everywhere. you can also target these kind of ads wolf, so you know what voters occupy what part of the state and how responsive they'll be to any kind of an ad, so if you have the money to carpet bomb your opponent which is what mitt romney generally does, you have a good chance of winning. >> why is newt gingrich mia in illinois? because he's not going to win. he knows he's not going win. he's running out of money and he's got a campaign debt and what he's looking toward is his state of louisiana. and that's on saturday, wolf. louisiana could be make or break
for newt gingrich. i would argue he has to win louisiana because he hasn't been winning a lot lately, and if you're going continue raising money and have some credibility in this race, you need to start winning. if he doesn't win louisiana, i think the campaign has some decisions to make about whether they just kind of hang in there until the convention or whether they actually get out of the race and endorse another candidate. i don't think they've decided that yet. they want to win louisiana. our chief political analyst gloria borger will be throughout the night as well watching illinois. thank you. >> if you've got to subsidize student loan you may have to get red for a big jump in the interest rate, and a celebrity in space, not just yet, but he's on the loose and we'll tell you which star has signed up and basketball star jeremy lin signs an endorsement deal. who will he be make the pitch for? we'll tell you.
millions of college students across the country are facing a sizeable financial blow. lisa sylvester is monitoring that in "the situation room" right now. what happened? this can affect a lot of people, and the rate on subsidized student loans is scheduled to jump to 6.8% from the current 3.8% effective july 1st. students sent 130,000 letters urging lawmakers to keep it there. the rate had gradually come down since the temporary reduction plan. the pending rate hike is part of the plan up to 8 million college students can be affected. >> six citizens of zimbabwe convicted of conspiracy of watching video of arab spring protests. they were among 46 people arrested during an academic meeting where footage of events in tunisia in egypt was shown. 40 were released, but the government has accused the six of plotting an uprising.
they could face up to ten years in prison or a $2,000 fine. and amazon is getting into the robot business. the mega department store is acquiring tiva systems, and filling orders. amazon is buying the boston-based company for $775 million in cash. founded in 2002, the sales grew to more than 100 million in 2010. and richard branson has revealed that actor ashton kutcher is the 500th passenger to sign on for his virgin atlantic intergal akic spacecraft, it is in pre-flight test and at this point it's anybody's guest when it will go off at 50,000 feet. the price tag is $200,000. sudden nba sensation jeremy lin has signed an endorsement deal with volvo.
the chinese-owned carmaker says it has penned the point guard for a two-year contract for the u.s. and asia markets. the undrafted lin turned pro in 2010 and bursting on to the sports world last month, leaving the bench and leading the knicks on an improbable winning streak. >> we'll see what he can do for vol volvo. he's done okay for the knicks and for himself, let's see what he can do for volvo. i'm sure the first of many endorsements he's been getting. >> he certainly has a lot of fans. harvard grad and a great success story. we'll see what happens from here, wolf. >> great story. she disappeared 75 years ago, but now a new clue is leading experts back to the south pacific in search of amelia earhart. all right, let's decide what to do about medicare and social security...
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a new clue is prompting a new effort to solve a 75-year-old mystery in the disappearance of the pioneering female flyer amelia earhart. the state department is getting directly involved. lisa sylvester is back. she's working this story. what happened here? >> over the years lots of theories of what happened to amelia earhart and the new one may be the best guess yet.
she and her navigator were able to land in the south pacific. amelia earhart was attempting to circumnavigate the globe in 1937. she was roughly 20 hours into the trip flying from new guinea to the island when she and her navigator vanished over the pacific ocean. now a new clue may solve the decades-old mystery. this picture was taken a few months after earhart disappeared and it's after the pacific atoll. rick gillespie has spent 20 years searching for earhart. >> this is the ship that ran aground in 1929 and it was an old wreck then and what struck us is that there's something sticking up out of the water over here. this is the piece of the jigsaw puzzle that fits in with the other pieces we had, so yeah i think it is the landing gear of her airplane. >> forensic imaging specialists say it could be part of her
plane's landing gear and there are more clues, items common in the 1930s were found on excav asian sites on the island. >> the artifacts we found on this site are bottles from personal care items that a woman in the 1930s would have. parts of a mirror and makeup from a woman's compact. >> navy planes searched around the island in the days ever she went missing and found no sign of her lockheed aircraft. gillespie believes most of it had slipped below the ocean's surface. at a news conference, gillespie, whose group recovers historic aircraft announced a high-tech deep water search will begin this summer off the pacific island using a small, robotic submarine. the u.s. government is lending its support. secretary of state hillary clinton says she's been captivated with amelia earhart since her mother told her the aviator's story. >> she embodied the spirit of an america coming of age and increasingly confident, ready to lead in a quite uncertain and
dangerous world. >> gillespie says the photograph gives them a starting point of where to look. >> the only thing we can do is make a best effort to go and search and look and see what we can find, and it's the searching that's important. >> the search for earhart has been like looking for a needle in a hay stack, but the hay stack may be a lot smaller now. >> and that expedition trip this summer is privately funded. it will take off from hawaii. they will spend ten days on the site scanning the waters off the coast. so fingers crossed that maybe, maybe we'll have new answers, wolf. >> hopefully after all of these years. >> thank you very much. hundreds of thousands of people are demanding his arrest, but how much do we really know about the neighborhood watch captain who shot dead a florida teen? that's coming up in the next hour.
we're getting our first exit polls from illinois from the primary there. what's on the voters' finds as they cast their ballot today. >> and michelle obama goes on late-night tv and you'll see why she was emotional sitting down with david letterman. lower cholesterol,p how does it work? you just have to eat it as part of your heart healthy diet. step 1. eat the soup. all those veggies and beans, that's what may help lower your cholesterol and -- well that's easy [ male announcer ] progresso. you gotta taste this soup. a second gen intel® core™ i5 or i7 processor. everything. and more. ♪ when we were determined to. see it through. here's an update on the progress. we're paying for all spill related clean-up costs. bp findings supports independent scientists studying the gulf's environment. thousands of environmental samples have been tested and all beaches and waters are open.
this just coming into "the situation room." u.s. staff sergeant robert bales accused of killing 16 afghan civilians. the lawyer spoke to ted rowlands. ted, what are you hearing from the lawyer? >> reporter: a couple of interesting thing, wolf, that we haven't heard before and this is after his second meeting with his client staff sergeant bales. john henry brown, the seattle-based attorney, says that his client never confessed. so while we do know that he turned himself in and there's apparently video of that in afghanistan, brown says he never confessed, and he also questions
how much pure evidence the federal government really has in this case. he says he is going to afghanistan himself, and he's going to do his own investigation in afghanistan to try to gather more information. he says he expects charges in this case will come down thursday and he fully expects that those will be homicide charges. he says that we're talking about his client and a soldier's soldier. he says that his client, staff sergeant bales had a good record. he didn't want to go to afghanistan, but he answered the call. he says that right now his client is in shock. >> a soldier's a soldier. he didn't particularly want to go over there, and he could have used reasons not to, but he did what he was told, and he's never asked me anything in the len hours of meeting with him about his -- which i get from my clients, his first questions
were about safety and security, and the second were a series of questions about his family. >> reporter: among other things that john henry brown said, he said his client never drank. he maybe had two sips of a drink, of somebody else's drink, but the report that he had been drinking, those reports are false. he said marital strife is not a part of this at all. and the financial problems don't lead anybody to go on a killing rampage like this. it's just ridiculous to associate those two thing, and again, he does expect charges, formal charges against his client to come down on thursday. john henry brown does plan on leaving for leavenworth and going back to seattle tonight. wolf? >> ted rowlands on the scene with you. we'll stay in close touch with you and see what happens
thursday. thanks very much. coming up in the next hour, we have new details of the final phone call of the unarmed teenage shooting victim, what that could mean for the gunman's claim of self-defense and michelle obama goes on late-night tv. you'll see why she was emotional sitting down with david letterman.
>> here's a look at some of the other political headlines making news in the cnn political particularer. a late night appearance by michelle obama. she sat down with david letterman and talked about shopping under cover and of course, her family. that part of the interview made the first lady a bit emotional. >> my father had multiple sclerosis, and i never knew him to be able to walk, but my dad worked so hard and he loved us so much, and i think from him i learned just absolute, complete, unconditional love. the notion that kids really don't need anything but to know that their parents adore them and i think that's the greatest gift they gave us, just their constant support and, you know, stability, and that's really what we try to instill in our girls. we talk about raising kids. it's just really, you know, we
had rules. we had boundaries, but there wasn't anything my dad wouldn't do for us and -- >> don't make me cry. >> no. >> this isn't oprah. this is letterman. >> asked for bo, the first lady in this, she sees her dog assalest mo like one of her children. >> can he be a handful a bit? >> no. he's a very sweet dog. i'm not being biased. he is really a good dog. he is very well mannered. he's very even tempered. he has a very busy schedule. appearances, i'm thinking about getting him an agent. >> and, again, none of my business -- >> yeah? >> i have a dog myself. >> and you can kind of get into a let me say digestive rhythm of the dog. >> yes. >> and when it's time for bo to -- how does that happen? >> his business? >> he goes out.
usually the girls take him out. there are a number of people who are willing to take him out. he usually will tell you, though. i know -- he doesn't talk. >> right. >> but he will come up and he'll put his paw on your leg and kind of nudges you and then you're, like, what do you want and then he gets excited and you say you want to go out and and he starts barki barking. he's very smart. >> is this what biden does? >> very funny. >> for complete political coverage please be sure to read the ticker of cnn politics.com. jack, you liked it, didn't you? >> that was one of the letterman's better quips, i've got to admit. she's delightful, isn't she? >> she's great. >> we said it before, it's too bad she couldn't loan some of that personality to her husband. she's terrific. >> if he's the republican nominee there will be two wonderful ladies vying to become
the first lady. >> maybe we should decide between the two women how to run the country for the next two years. it sounds like a good idea to me. >> ann romney and michelle obama, they're both terrific ladies. >> does biden do that, too? that's great. is a long gop primary good for the republican party? al writes, the issues whether a gop primary is good for the country, so far i haven't seen anything the country can rally around to build a better future. it's not the length of the campaign. it's the lack of substance and leadership that's the problem. >> iani in austin, texas, no. but for those of us who want to continue to live in a free country, it is. they want to restrict the majority in order to please the min minority. the sad part is they might win unless more attention is paid to their more extreme views. a long primary might be good for the party if the choice was lincoln, grant, roosevelt and eisenhower, but that's not the case here. they're exposing unhealthy
differences in the party, how can it be successful if moderates are shunned and the, treatmentists alienate the other extremists. >> search a drawn-out affair didn't hurt the democrats in 2008, why would it hurt the republicans in 2012? joseph writes, no, i think it will damage the party and if this race leads to a brokered convention, obama will be in office for the next four years and it's time to have a nominee so we can focus on obama and the senate. terry in virginia says absolutely not, the more the daylight shines on what the gop really stands for. turning back the clock to a time when only rich, white men ruled the country. come november the gop will be shocked by how much light will be shown by the number of seats in congress and the fact that president obama will easily win re-election. sf and finally, ken in california writes this, it's not good for any political party and it's not good for our country. our fate lies in the skulls of dim witted power seekers.
those cannot drive a previously self-driven automobiles. one does not know where to put a dog, in, on on top of it. if you want to read more, go to cnn.com/caffertyfile or the facebook page. wolf? >> all right, jack. thank you. and you're in "the situation room," happening now, we're following breaking news. a major earthquake rocks mexico to the capital and sends residents rushing into the streets. we're tracking all of the latest developments for you. a lawyer says he has proof that a florida teenager was killed in cold blood. we have fresh details about trayvon martin's final cell phone call and whether it destroys the shooter's claim of self-defense. and newt gingrich takes on robert de niro and gets a reaction from the obama campaign. this hour, the controversy over robert deniro's remark that america is in, quote, ready for a white first lady. we want to welcome our viewers
in the united states and arne the world. i'm wolf blitzer. i'm wolf blitzer. you're in "the situation room." -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com >> this is cnn breaking news. >> let's get right to the breaking news, a powerfula earthquake that rocked resort towns in mexico and in the nation's capital of mexico city. authorities are evaluating the damage right now from the 7.4 magnitude quake. brian todd is monitoring the latest video coming in from the area, brian. what are you seeing? >> wolf, new pictures we're getting in and information about the earthquake, still very early and still assessing the damage there. mexico city and some of the cities near there, reports of no major damage or injuries, but again, still in the early assessment period. here are new pictures we're getting from video on youtube with a private photographer shooting pictures from his apartment and you see the tiles coming off and adhesive in the apartment cracking, and debris on the floor and here's video of a bookcase shaking and i believe this is in mexico city.
that's a short piece offed have and the earthquake shaking and we did get video from the univision offices there in mexico city where they filmed outside and you can see the central statue, one of the central statues in mexico city of an angel is shaking. i believe this is that video. there you see it. it's an angel statue in mexico city. you can see it just shaking slightly and then you see images of people, evacuating people on the streets. i want to bring viewers up-to-date on video that we showed earlier and well known video of the bus that was cracked in half. according to televisa they interviewed one of the officials there who said that there was a concrete barrier that fell about ten feet. this was in the district of oscapozalco in mexico city. the mayor said there were no accidents, but this was a concrete barrier that fell ten feet on to a minibus there. televisa is reporting that service is interrupted in parts
of mexico city subway because of deform eggs of railway. that's information we're getting about infrastructure. buildings in mexico city and cities nearby have been retrofitted utsch in like the buildings on the west coast of the united states and elsewhere where there's seismic activity. they've been retrofitted to withstand this. this was a major shake and you can see video of people pouring out into the streets. the governor of guerrero state angel aguirre telling cnn that the epicenter was near the border of oaxaca and guerrero states. he said multiple houses collapsed in that area, wolf. no reports of damage or injuries there, but they're sending government helicopters in to assess the damage and here are early, still pictures. we're getting images of damage on the growth fund and on the walls of mexico city and elsewhere. people on the states, debris, rubble in some places, but
again, minor damage falling, masonry cracking and bricks falling off. you see video of people being tended to in the streets and getting initial assessments of just some damage and injury ms. mexico and monitoring this as we go and some of the latest pictures and assessments of the affected areas in mexico. >> brian, thanks very much. >> i want to dig deeper. chad myers is standing by to take a closer look at this earthquake. 150, 200 miles sort of between mexico city and acapulco, is that right, chad? >> yes, and very lucky for the people of mexico city that it was this far away, literally. here's the 200 mile distance to mexico city and here's the distance to acapulco. although there are towns and small cities in this area, had there been near mexico city and acapulco, there would have been so much more damage that occurred. let me take you to the towns that brian was talking to you and i'll show them to you on google earth because the epicenter right there at 7.4, only 12 kilometers away or 8
miles away. here's the town of san juan here. this is a very large one. 4,000 people living in these structures here. all those tile roofs and those red roofs and those brick, tiled roofs that are very, very heavy on top of those buildings and the biggest city is this here. o-m-e-t-e-p-e-c, this is the 19,000 people and this was the last census, there may be more people here in this area and the area, 12 miles, only 12 miles below this city. we know there was a lot of damage and these are the towns that we'll get the information from in the coming days. it will be very difficult for us to get most anything out of here for the next couple of hours because the roads are damaged and the power lines are damaged. here we go, wolf. what are we talking about for earthquakes around the world. not just mexico, but the world. 14,000 earthquakes like that. a i strong earthquake, 6 to 7,
134, where we were today there are 17 earthquakes just like that every year. so more than one a month, but when you put it into place when people live that's when it gets dangerous, wolf. >> i know we're starting to get producers, photographers to the scene of the epicenter and we'll update our viewers as more information comes in. thanks very much. meanwhile, dramatic new developments in the case of an unarmed florida teenager shot dead by a neighborhood watch captain. >> the dots have all been connected. arrest george zimmerman for the killing of trayvon martin in cold blood today. >> the lawyer for trayvon martin's family says he has evidence that blows the shooter's claim of self-defense out of the water, in his words. he released martin's cell phone records today and offered an account of the teen's final call shortly before he was killed.
cnn's john zarrella is joining us from florida now. what have we learned about that last phone ca& call and the you woman he was talking to. >> when he refers to the dots being connected he's refers to the 16-year-old girl apparently trayvon's girlfriend who crumb says he interviewed at length. he recorded the conversation with her, and during this conversation she tells crump that she was on the phone in the minutes and even the seconds before trayvon was shot and killed and during those seconds that she was on the phone, trayvon tells her that a man is following her, that he's going to run. she tells him not to run. he says he will walk fast, and then she says that she hears a thus as if trayvon has then fallen to the ground and all of this, crump says, blows out zimmerman's claim of self-defense.
>> never in any account other than george zimmerman this neighborhood association loose cannon does anybody say that trayvon martin was up to no good, that he seemed high or anything, and in fact, this young lady details it completely the tone of the conversation, and the nature of the conversation and what was happening the last minutes of his life. >> now he -- benjamin says that he is going to turn over this information and this recording, not to the local police in sanford, florida, but to the department of justice because he says the family does not trust the sanford police department. now some other information came out as well today, wolf, that the police report says that zimmerman sustained a cut on his nose, blood on the back of his head and also that the back of
his shirt was wet, indicating that there was some sort of a scuffle and zirmman was on the ground. zirmman has not been charged with anything and has not been arrested. on another front, the state attorney general has said in seminole county that they will, in fact, empower the grand jury that's going to convene on april 10th to go ahead and look into this and to continue to develop whatever information they can about what exactly happened. the department of justice, of course, also using the tampa fbi office to spearhead a federal investigation, civil rights investigation as well. that is getting under way. so lots of new developments taking place today, wolf? >> john zarrella, we'll stay in close touch with you on this story as well. there's new reason to believe that a deadly shooting spree may have been caught on camera by the killer. a series of deadly bombings in iraq and why the killers may have decided to strike today.
>> sarah palin's daughter bristol says the president of the united states owes her something. stay tuned for her open letter to president obama. f the backbo. [ laughs ] dad! [ laughs ] whoo! oh! you're up! oh! oh! so close! now where were we? ok, this one's good for two. score! [ male announcer ] share what you love with who you love. kellogg's frosted flakes. they're gr-r-eat! kellogg's frosted flakes. there's another way litter box dust:e purina tidy cats. our premium litters now work harder to help neutralize odors in multiple cat homes. purina tidy cats. keep your home smelling like home.
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>> let's get right to jack cafferty for "the cafferty file," jack? >> some people, wolf, just can't stand prosperity. exhibit a, rick stannor up. you'd think after alabama and mississippi he'd be on his a game in illinois? not so much. yesterday he said this, i don't care what the unemployment rate is going to be. it doesn't matter to me, unquote. issue number one for the voters, the economy doesn't matter? that statement goes beyond stupid. a spokesman tried to do damage control later arguing the campaign is not solely about the economy, but also about returning freedom and restoring the country's greatness. just how do we do that, ricky, with a $15 trillion national debt and millions of americans out of work and an unemployment rate north of 8%.
riddle me that. call it whatever you want, but romney is calling his chief rival an economic lightweight pounced. santorum says the country doesn't want another wall street financier like mitt romney as president, but there are reports now that a message focused more on government outreach and wars on pornography than whether or not americans can get a job is inspiring freedom on santorum supporters on the campaign trail. this isn't the first time santorum's gotten himself into some trouble. last month he almost threw up when he read john kennedy's famous 1960 speech, but declared the religious views were quiet and should not be imposed on him on the nation. he tried to walk it back, but it's the thing that once the toothpaste comes out of the tube, you're sort of stuck. to quote the great western philosopher, james carville, it's the economy, stupid. here's the question. is rick santorum suddenly doing himself in? here's the answer, you bet.
go to cnn.com/caffertyfile and post a comment on my blog or go to the situation room's facebook page. i'm starting to understand where the voters of pennsylvania threw him out by an 18-point margin from the united states senate after he served two terms. this is beyond the pail. >> the last comments he himself acknowledges weren't well spoken. >> why did he speak them? >> he obviously made a mistake. >> huge, huge mistake. you can't accuse house republicans of playing it safe. in the middle of a fierce election damp camp, paul ryan has released a plan to cut spending a spending and taxes. let's bring in kate bolduan with details. >> reporter: republicans are calling it a blueprint for american renewal, but it can also be called a blueprint for a major election year budget battle. >> we are sharpening the contrast between the path that we're posing and what the
president placed it on. paul ryan unveiled the republican plan by cutting spending by $5 trillion over ten years compared to president obama's 2013 budget. one central provision, which democrats bounced on even with campaign attacks before it was publicly announced. >> republicans in washington have a new budget that chooses millionaires over medicare. it is not fair and not right. we all agree washington needs to cut spending and it's done the right way, not on the backs of seniors. >> they don't want medicare to wither on the vine and to die and this is an important step in that direction. bless their hearts, they don't care about medicare and they act upon their beliefs, the republicans do. they give senior subsidies to purchase health insurance. it's a politically risky move, one that has hurt republicans before. still, ryan acknowledged the stakes and defended the plan. >> if we simply operate based on
political fear, nothing's ever going get done. >> the gop budget would also repeal president obama's health care law, head off the pending cuts to the defense budget and overhaul the tax code to include only two individual tax breaks of 10% and 25%, but bottom line, this isn't going anywhere in the democratic-controlled senate making the gop budget more of a campaign document. >> if you're mitt romney you're going to love this budget because what it does is provide another round of tax cuts for the wealthiest americans, and does it at the expense of middle-class taxpayers and seniors. >> ryan dismisses the democrats' refrain and said the leading gop presidential contenders are onboard. >> i've spoken to all these guys and they believe that we're heading in the right direction. >> in fact, after it was released both mitt romney and newt gingrich released statements praising the gop plan.
we haven't yet heard from rick santorum. the house budget committee is willing to take it up with the full house voting for it next week, but again, wolf, it has no chance in the senate. >> we'll see what happens on the road and in november. that's when all of the action presumably will take place, kate. thank you. >> we are standing by with the first exit poll information coming from illinois right now. it's another big primary night for the republican presidential candidates. michele bachmann, she tells me there's a reason why she hasn't yet endorsed any of the candidates. my interview with michele bachmann coming up. sarah palin's daughter bristol issues a letter to president obama wondering why he hasn't called her yet. stand by.e? 've been paying in all these years... years washington's been talking at us, but they never really listen... listen...it's not just some line item on a budget; it's what i'll have to live on...
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lisa sylvester is back. she's monitoring the other top stories in the situation room including a disturbing wave of chaos and violence all across iraq today. what happened? >> yeah, that's right, wolf. dozens of people are dead and more than 200 are wounded in what one official is calling coordinated attacks across iraq. at least 15 attacks, mostly bombings took place today over a matter of hours in at least nine iraqi cities. they come on the ninth anniversary of the u.s. invasion to bring down saddam hussein's regime and nine days before bag datd dad hosts the next arab league summit. so syria where people remain defiant over human violence. the rebels battling the regime of bashar al assad. there is increasing evidence of kidnapping, torture and executions. the group's letter to the opposition came as the death toll continues to climb.
activists say at least 46 people were killed in today's violence. and the university of southern mississippi is punishing five students who admitted to yelling a derogatory chant during this ncaa basketball game. the five had been removed from the pep band, lost their scholarships and they will now have to complete a cultural sensitivity course. during last week's game they chanted quote, where's your green card to a puerto rican player. a lot of people were upset when they saw that happen. >> thanks, very much. if israel were to attack e ran, what would it mean for the united states? a new report describes what happened when u.s. military simulated the attack and the consequences for americans are very dire. i'll talk about that and more. michele bachmann, the congresswoman is back from israel and the gunman brazenly attacks a school and shoots three students and a teacher at point-blank range. did the killer record the murders on camera? we'll have the details.most
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>> so what would happen if israel decides to preemptively attack iran's nuclear sites? the pentagon recently conducted an exercise, a so-called war game to plot out how iran would react and what that would mean for americans. joining us now republican congresswoman michele bachmann of minnesota the former republican presidential candidate. >> that's right. >> thank you very much for coming in. >> always a pleasure. you're just back from israel and you met with the top leaders including the prime minister and the leader shcht intelligence community. you're a member of the house intelligence committee. you saw the story in "the new york times" talking about war games and potentially what would happen if the israelis launched a strike against iran's nuclear facilities, a classified war simulation held this month to assess the repercussions of an israeli attack on iran forecast that the strike would lead to a wider regional war which could
draw on the united states and leave hundreds of americans dead according to american officials. that from "the new york times." is that the impression as someone who studied this and met with israelis? are they close to doing this? >> of course, they'll keep those cards fairly close to the vest, but israel has made it very clear. iran has continued unimpeded for decades in their quest to have a nuclear weapon which they have announced repeatedly to use to wipe israel off the map. they refuse to do that, and they really should do four things. they should stop enriching uranium. they should surrender the uranium they have now, then they should close their facility -- their nuclear facility and they should agree to continue inspecs which they refuse to do. >> they're allowed to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes. >> there is credible evidence that at parsheen, southwest of tehran, that there is a military
facility that is being used right now potentially for nuclear work and they refuse to open this facility up to the iaea, the international atomic energy agency. they need to open that up. the world needs to know that this is peaceful. if iran is telling the truth, that this is peaceful, then they need to be transparent and accountable to the world community and open up their facilities. to this point, iran has been unwilling to do that. >> you know about the debate in the u.s. intelligence community whether or not there is evidence that the iranians are trying to build a bomb. >> there's disagreement, but the fact is e ran does have capability and they've proven they know how to enrich uranium. they can take it up very quickly, it takes very little to take it up to plus 90%. that can be done. it appears they have the means and the capability and they've said repeatedly what they will
do with that weapon. the question is they're unlikely to issue a memo so that we can all see when they're about to begin that process and that's a risk that israel doesn't know that they can take because iran is moving its work into a deep, underground facility where no one can get to it. >> based on all of the information you got while you were in israel, how much time, realistically is left? >> it's a matter of when iran wants to start the clock, when they make that decision, and as i said, no one suffers under the illusion that iran will make a public announcement. >> do you think the israelis are any time soon, within the next few weeks or months will launch some sort of strike? >> they'll make that assessment on their own what they need to do. i think they've been very clear that they will act independently if they need to to protect their sovereignty, their safety and security of their people. again, remember, it is a much shorter flight to go from tehran to jerusalem than it is from tehran to washington, d.c., and so i think right now israel's
looking out for their people and for their sovereignty. >> let's talk about politics while i have you. you haven't endorsed any of the republican candidates, yet, why? >> i want my voice to be one of unified in the republican party. the candidates that are duelling it out, this has been a good process. at a certain point we do need to come together, and i will be happy to back whoever our nominee is, and i may do that even before the convention, but i want my voice to be a unifying voice to pull the packs together. >> is all of this fighting between santorum and romney hurting the party? >> i think this has been very fruitful up to the super tuesday elections. i think at a certain point we do need to come together. no two elections are alike and at this point we would be better off if we could unify the candidate. whoever the candidate will be, i will back whoever the people choose, but it's important for us to unify and unify quickly. >> a lot of people think santorum had a major gaffe this
week when he said this. >> we need a candidate who will be a fighter for freedom who will get up and make that the central theme in this race. i don't care what the unemployment rate is going to be. it doesn't matter to me. my campaign doesn't hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates. there's something more foundational that's going on here. >> there's always a quote that the media likes to pull out from any of the candidates and focus on that quote. the bigger issue in all of this is barack obama and what he's been doing with the country, whether it's unemployment and whether it's any other metric. clearly, the president has fallen far short of what even the president said he would be able to deliver and don't forget, wolf. the president said if i don't turn the economy around within the first three years i do not deserve re-election. i think that's pretty clear. he doesn't deserve re-election, and i will back senator santorum, governor romney or newt gingrich or ron paul, whoever our candidate is, i will back them. >> santorum says he doesn't care
about the unemployment rate or the economic growth rate. that's a blunder, right? i think it's pretty clear that he does care about the employment rate. i'm not an apologist for any of the candidates or their camps, but it is very clear, he wants the economy to grow just as the other candidates do. again, that's another example of majoring on minors because the big issue right now is turning the economy around and clearly it's president obama who has been an abject failure. we have to grow the economy. >> so when romney says this, is this a blunder too. >> i believe the economy is coming being bah. we'll see what happens. it's had ups and down, i think it's finally coming back. >> that's what romney says. >> i don't think any of the staples are blunders. i think what the candidates are trying to show is that we can turn the economy around if we have the right policies. >> is the economy coming back now? >> the policies of president obama are not doing what they need to do to bring the economy back. there are those who look at the current statistics on unemployment and they're saying
that we are adding jobs and so that's an indication that we are seeing some growth, but it's certainly not at the level that it should be and president obama has a lot to answer to. >> you'll be making your endorsement in the next few weeks, next few months? >> i will look for the most opportune time to draw the party together and expand to the crucial independents and democrats that we need to be able to win in november. >> we'll be staying in close touch. thanks for coming in. >> thank you. this just coming into "the situation room." we're getting the first exit poll information from illinois and the republican primary. let's bring in our chief national correspondent. what are you learning, john? it's a big, diverse state. 54 delegates, governor romney hoping to build on his momentum from puerto rico and let's take a look at who's voting today and
where the vote it. 71% of the vote today coming in in suburban illinois. the area around chicago, the most important because of the population, lake county and the cook county suburbs, critical for governor romney. the urban area, chicago's democratic and springfield as well. 18% of the vote today coming from what we would describe as urban areas and it's critical to rick santorum, but 11% of the vote in rural areas that we've seen in other states, that's where he finds tea party voters and conservatives for rick santorum. it tells us about the electorate and what's on their mind. the economy is issue number one. it's been higher in several other states, but four in ten voters in illinois today say the economy's issue number one and again, as always, the budget deficit issue number two. we haven't asked this question before, you just played that sound bite from governor romney. he said it's getting better. we asked that of people, how do you feel about the state of the economy? look at this.
40% of the voters think the economy is getting worse, 40% think it's going downhill, not uphill. that's interesting for the incumbent president heading into his home state. they feel things are just about the same. this is the defining issue from now to november, interesting to see such a high number, 4 and ten say the economy is still getting worse. who's voting today in terms of the ideology of this electorate? we know senator santorum has tended to do well among conservative voters. 28% of the electorate, this has been a good constituency for governor romney. 25% of the electorate and this has been the tug-of-war. in states where romney wins, he tends to do well, if states where santorum, he would do well. it's, that pretty much fits with what we think of as illinois. have suburban republicans tend to be more moderate, conservatives down south and somewhat conservative republicans are a fascinating
race tonight and we'll break down the exit polls in the hour ahe ahead. >> we'll watch you at the top of the hour and we'll stay on top of it throughout the night in the illinois republican primary. thank you. sarah palin's daughter bristol wants something from president obama. she wrote a whole letter online, what is she asking for? we'll tell you. robert deniro, now the raging bull and he's the actor that's firing right back.
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>> the republican presidential candidate newt gingrich has a surprising new target. we're talking about the actor robert deniro. it's all part of a showdown over free speech and political correctness that pulled in the president of the united states himself. here's our senior correspondent joe johns. >> reporter: at a monday night fund-raiser attended by first lady michelle obama academy award-winning movie star robert deniro accompanied by his wife grace hightower made a joke that went viral almost immediately and opened deniro up as fair game in the republican race for the nomination. deniro was quoted ina i white house pool report as mentioning the wives of republican candidates. calista gingrich, karen santorum
and romney. now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady? in the morning former house speaker newt gingrich trailing badly in the polls and campaigning in louisiana seized on the comment and demanded the president himself apologize for what deniro had said. >> what deniro said last night was inexcusable and the president should apologize for him. it was at an obama fund-raiser and it divides the country and if people on the left want to talk about radio talk show hosts then everyone in the country should hold the president accountable at his event that says something that's totally unacceptable. >> he launched a free for all on social media, and republicans and conservatives blasting the actor and the obamas for what some construed as racially insensitive remarks while deniro's comments amounted to a harmless joke. especially considering the fact
that all other u.s. first ladies except for mrs. obama were white. nonetheless, when we asked if the president would apologize it was the first lady's campaign office that responded with this six-word e-mail. we believe the joke was inappropriate. robert deniro issued a statement also saying my remarks, although spoken with satirical jest, were not meant to offend or embarrass anyone especially the first lady. one of the larger political questions, though is how louisiana voters might respond to gingrich's reaction on this issue. >> i think it is good strategy for gingrich to focus his attacks on obama as opposed to the other republican candidates because what republicans are saying that they're tired of all the infighting and all of the mudslinging in the republican party. >> today the gingrich campaign put out a statement from an african-american adviser asserting that if a republican and conservative had made a statement there would have been
a lot of criticism in the media and one of the biggest questions asked all over the world was whether america was ready for a black president. wolf? >> thanks very much, joe johns, for that. sarah palin's daughter bristol is entering the political fray with a direct message from president obama and she's waiting for the phone to ring with a call from the president. mary snow is taking a look at this story for us. mary, what does she want to hear from the president? >> bristol palin said since the president called sandra flubbing she should get a call, too, it comes as conservatives accuse democrats of hypocrisy when it comes to insults aimed at women. bristol palin asked in an open letter why she hasn't yet heard from him i figured i might be next. sandra flubbing is the georgetown law school student who came under attack from limbaugh after advocating that insurance companies should cover contraception costs.
the president reached out to fluk, and i wanted to speak in a civil and thoughtful way. and i don't want them -- and called names because they're being good citizens. bristol palin seized on that comment, writing the $1 million bill maher saying reprehundredsible things about my family and hurt when she came out with the book. >> bristol palin has to admit that she [ bleep ] over and over until a baby fell out is because she liked it. >> bristol palin accuses the president of only willing to defend certain women, and that's the message of this video linked to palin's letter. >> i'm bill maher here. sarah palin agreed to do commentary at fox news which is similar to her day job, talking to a baby with down syndrome.
>> the group behind the video is she pac, helped to elect conservative women it's asking to return bill maher's donation. >> if we're going to say that only certain women deserve respect and only certain idea it is deserve respect, then a grew like she pac should stand up and point out your hypocrisy. the white house press secretary was asked earlier this month about the super pac, which was not controlled by the president. >> we cannot be the arbitrator of every statement that everybody makes in the policy and political arena. >> democratic strategists, hillary rosen says it's more than just personalities involved. if the republicans are going to support policies that discriminate against women, it's not that that's so much worse than calling women bad names,
but it has a significantly longer lasting effect and it has a national effect. >> one thing women on both sides of the political spectrum agree on is that there's too much degradation of women in the political discourse. >> i agree as well. thanks very much for that. a gunman kills the teacher and three students at point-blank range. prosecutors describe the killer as, quote, very determined and we have the latest on the investigation and find the person who has put a nation on edge. stand by. [ male announcer ] the cadillac cts sport sedan was designed with near-perfect weight balance from front to back... and back to front. ♪ giving you exceptional control
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>> authorities are warning the killer who shot three children yesterday could strike again this as news comes that the shooter may have videotaped his attack. cnn's diana magnay has the latest from tou louse, france. >> a moment of silence at schools across the country to remember the victims of monday's attack. a strike at the heart of
toulouse's >> translator: this happened in toulouse, in a religious school, to children from jewish families, but it could have happened here. it could have been the same assassin. these children are exactly like you. they are victims for nothing. >> reporter: a father and son walked shyly past the cameras to leave flowers. inside the school the pain of a very private community on public display. some too young to understand. others unable to contain their grief or their horror at what they've been forced to witness. >> translator: the people who saw this are very scarred. i spoke with kids who were 16, 17 years old who were carrying children in their arms trying to resuscitate them, giving them mouth-to-mouth. >> reporter: mourners shield the faces of the bereaved as funeral cars wait to take the victims away.
then one by one they're brought out, the coffins of the four who died here, shot at point blank range by an assassin wearing a camera strapped to his chest. the interior minister said possibly to record his killing spree. small coffins which speak of a terrible crime, the ung wy youn years old, gunned down alongside his brother and father. the four bodies on their way to israel to be buried there. france's minister of interior and defense left the memorial grim faced, their work cut out for the manhood that continues. it may be a paratrooper dismissed from the army for neonazi feelings. one thing for sure he showed no mercy to his victims, sought out the prosecutor said according to their race or religion. >> translator: all the victims were shot in the head at point blank and we also found traces
of burn marks as well. >> reporter: there are now 200 special investigators led by anti-terror personnel searching every possible lead in the toulouse region. prosecutors say they have almost 8,000 hours' worth of cctv footage to watch from the three related attacks. the only real point of certainty at this stage, that all were committed with the same gun. but that is small comfort to a community in fear the killer is still on the loose. diana magnay, cnn, toulouse. >> thank you. let's go to jack cafferty for "the cafferty file." the question this hour is rick santorum suddenly doing himself in? mack in michigan writes santorum knows he's not going to win the presidency and knows as a loser he can join sarah palin making huge money on the hate, paranoia and holier than thou speaking circuit, wrapping one's behind in the flag, waving the bible and too tooing the majority is a
big money business in this count country. dave writes he panders to the uneducated and ignorant and will only favor the rich like the rest of his hypocritical party. the uneducated and ignorant will continue to vote against their own best interests based on a few slogans and a deep hatred for the black man who is president. curtis says no one here in pennsylvania is surprised. after all he did lose his re-election bid for the senate in 2006 by 18 percentage points. john writes he needs to stick to the economy. he needs to get his views out of our bedrooms and explain how we'll get our troops out of afghanistan sooner. the conservatives are already for santorum but he needs to win independent voters, the very, very high moral ground turns people off. nobody's perfect, except santorum. bi in pennsylvania, i truly
believe santorum thinks he's doing god's work and god is speaking through him directly. he seems to be stuck on telling us how we're supposed to live according to his beliefs. there are many wars started by people who thought god was speaking to them. i don't want him waking up in the middle of the night and do something stupid that will affect my two grandsons in the military. karl reads saint-toru is more concerned about the church than the united states." post on "the situation room's" facebook page or my blog. there was a proposal on the ice at a hockey game but it wasn't what you're used to seeing. stand by. orange creme... [ grocery store pa ] clean up in aisle eight. found her! [ female announcer ] yoplait original. 25 flavors for you to love.
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or visit one of our local offices today, and we'll provide the coverage you need at the right price. liberty mutual auto insurance, responsibility -- what's your policy? will be giving away passafree copies of the alcoholism & addiction cure. to get yours, go to ssagesmalibubook.com. a marriage proposal in the middle of a hockey game caught everyone's attention. jeanne moos shows us why. >> reporter: hockey and romance go together like beer and kissing on the kiss cam. ♪ ain't no particular sign i'm more compatible with ♪ >> reporter: guys bending their girl over, once in a while someone famous like tom hanks smooching his wife. ♪ kiss >> reporter: it's all usually very heterosexual, except when
pseudogay couples ham it up. or there was a girlie tease. but wait a minute. this is no tease. this is love. ♪ her eyes make the stars look like they're not shining ♪ >> reporter: love at the hockey game the other night. it was the ottawa team's very first gay proposal, complete with lovey-dovey jumbo screen message, "my love for you is a journey starting at forever and ending at never." they used a rous to get alicia walton in the blue out on the ice. her girlfriend surprised her reaching into her jean's pocket. the crowd cheered, after all, this is canada, and gay marriage has been legal here for seven
years. ♪ there's not a thing that i would change ♪ ♪ because you're amazing just the way you are ♪ >> christina picked the bruo mars song "just the way you are." no matter where you stand on same-sex marriage, there is something unnatural. alicia is wearing toronto's jersey while christina is decked out in ottawa's wearing the jerseys of bitter rivals? these women weren't born dressed this way. that's a choice. and online comments there was plenty of booing, someone posted, i would rather have my kid seeing a hockey fight than two lesbians kissing. at this game fans got to see both. there was a fight. guy on guy, girl on girl, girl on girl on lion mascot. jeanne moos, cnn. >> congratulations to christina and alicia. >> reporter: new york.